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Dr. Harvey Weingarten and Advanced Education minister Denis Herard.
Amanda Hu/the Gauntlet

U of C capital projects get millions

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Two University of Calgary buildings finally received millions of dollars in funding.

Advanced Education minister Denis Herard announced the approval of $64 million for the U of C faculty of veterinary medicine and $35 million for the Child Development Centre at a press conference Wed., Nov. 15.

"These are major components of the university's long-term plan and we are proud to support them," said Herard.

U of C president Dr. Harvey Weingarten said the funds will help the U of C move forward with two programs unique to both Alberta and the country.

"This is a red-letter day for post-secondary education at the U of C and we thank the province for the funding," said Weingarten. "Both the vet school and the Childhood Development Centre will integrate education, research and clinical services."

Despite this new money, funding for the U of C's three other proposed capital projects--the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, the Urban Campus and the Experiential Learning Centre--is yet to be approved.

Herard vowed to try his best to secure funding for the priority projects at each of the post-secondary institutions in Alberta in the next budget.

"The U of C's first priority is the ISEEE building, so I'm trying to secure funding," said Herard. "It's currently part of next year's capital plan. It's certainly on the priority list for the next budget."

Construction of the Child Development Centre began in 2005 and is nearing completion, with the building scheduled to open in early 2007.

Some construction has also begun on the veterinary school of medicine facility, which will be located on Spy Hill in the city's northwest.

Money for both projects was fronted by the U of C, with the understanding that the province would come through with the funding eventually, explained Weingarten.

"If there is a level of confidence with the government--and there is some--fronting the money increased our ability to move quickly on this," said Weingarten.

Weingarten added that the U of C board of governors has already approved up to $10 million to begin planning and construction of the ISEEE building. The ISEEE building is expected to cost $282 million in total.

The money is part of a $162 million investment in post-secondary capital projects, including $27 million for facilities at the Banff Centre, $10.3 million for a Red Deer College expansion, $10 million for Olds College and $16 million for the World Skills Competition, an international trade skills competition, which takes place in Calgary in 2009.

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